Update from PHAST by Ross Owen

This is my second and final summer leading the PHAST crew. PHAST (Pennsylvania Highway Archaeological Survey Team) is an archaeological survey program created through an inter-agency partnership between Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and IUP. Each summer, 3 crew members and a field director (that’s me) take on a list of small archaeological surveys required by State and Federal regulations for PennDOT projects which propose ground disturbance. The crew this summer are all graduate students at IUP who have just completed their first of two years: Steven Campbell, Sam Edwards, and Kristina Gaugler. Most of our projects are bridge replacements and intersection realignment that do not have a large footprint. This gives us many opportunities to work in different parts of the State. Oftentimes in cultural resource management those working in the field are less involved in the lab work and report writing, so the holistic experience offered by the PHAST program is one of it’s biggest draws.

PHAST crew from left to right: Kristina Gaugler, Sam Edwards, Ross Owen, and Steven Campbell

Since mid-May, we have completed the fieldwork for 4 projects, finding one archaeological site in the process: a multi-component site with both prehistoric and historic artifacts present. A rainy month of June has slowed us down some, forcing us to search for drier portions of the Commonwealth. Unlike Dr. Ford, none of our crew is qualified to conduct underwater archaeology…

The joys of fieldwork in the rainy season….

After a few weeks working in the center of the state and dealing with a flooded project area, we headed to Wyoming County in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania. After the fourth of July, PHAST will begin a project in Venango County in the northwest corner of the state. In addition to our growing list of hotels to stay in (or avoid staying in) and the good eats in small towns across Pennsylvania, our travels force us to become familiar with several regions of the state.

Our background research, fieldwork, and reporting require us to learn about the environments we are working in in order to interpret the soils and artifacts we unearth in our excavations. Upon encountering a field full of chert, a material often used to produce stone tools, further research into the bedrock geology along with analysis of the samples we collected allowed us to determine that the chert was naturally-occurring and unrelated to human modification. Working in floodplains along creek sides we must pay attention to geologic factors which influence the routes of waterways over time, historic deforestation and mining across the state, and more recent events such as Hurricane Agnes which caused significant flooding along waterways in Pennsylvania.

shovel test pit

Running the PHAST crew is an excellent learning experience, constantly forcing me to adapt to new situations and solve unexpected problems as they arise. The network of support from the university, from PennDOT, and from the crew is what keeps everything running smoothly – ensuring that it is not only a learning experience, but a productive component of PennDOT’s cultural resource management program. In addition to the educational benefits it provides, and the contributions PHAST makes to interpreting the archaeology of Pennsylvania, the program also helps to save money. As an in-house program utilizing student interns, PHAST is able to complete projects required by Federal and State regulations for a fraction of the cost if a private company were to do the same job. In doing so it also helps to train students to work in the cultural resource management industry spreading the benefits across state and agency lines.

IUP at the 83rd Annual Society for American Archaeology Meeeting

By: Genevieve Everett

Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin

Employers should allow attendees/participants the Monday after the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) conference off. Let me tell you, I’m exhausted, but I’m feeling energized by all the amazing papers that I had the chance to hear, and the poster’s that were exhibited throughout the week.

Wednesday morning, myself, and 6 of my classmates (and luggage) crammed into the Arch Services van, and headed to the 83rd Annual SAA conference held in Washington, DC, in the lovely Woodley Park neighborhood. This was my first ever SAA conference. We arrive mid-afternoon at our small, but cozy Air Bnb that was located about a half hour (walk) from the conference center. After settling in a bit, we all walked to the conference center to register. We walked past yellow daffodils and purple flowers’ cascading down stonewalls, the first real sign of spring. One route we could take to and from the conference was through the National Zoo! After a delicious Lebanese meal (and cocktail), we all headed back to the Air Bnb to prepare for the first day of presentations, posters, and seeing old friends/colleagues.

IUP Ethics Bowl team

Thursday morning was a BUSY day. I was up bright and early to go to Sami’s presentation on her thesis research at Pandenarium, a 19th century Freedman site in Mercer County, PA. This was one of her last presentations before she graduates in May! She did really great! Shortly after I wandered around the poster session, and was particularly interested in the Caves and Rockshelter posters. From there, I headed to watch our Ethics Bowl team debate Cornell University. The point of the Ethics Bowl is to put two teams from different universities in front of a panel of judges, and debate about hypothetical (and in some cases based on real events) ethical issues within archaeology. Our team did amazing, however, they did not make it to the final round. Later I walked around the Expo room browsing books and picking up free “swag”, and from there I stopped by to see Sami and Angie Jaillet-Wentling’s poster. They were presenting the results of the public archaeology days they held this past fall at Pandenarium, which contributed to the assemblage Sami was examining for her thesis.

Sami and Angie at their poster session

The remainder of Thursday I spent alone, going from session to session. This past fall I helped excavate a quarry site in Northern Maine (if you go back to the September blog posts, you can read about it) under the supervision of Nathaniel Kitchel and Heather Rockwell. In the afternoon, Nathaniel presented a paper that the two co-authored on the results of this excavation. Next, I stopped by a talk in honor of Dennis Stanford. I especially enjoyed Ciprian Ardelean’s talk that was partially about working with Dennis Stanford, but also the Chiquihuite Cave in Zacatecas Mexico. Mr. Ardelean talked about being an “outsider” from Romania working in the Americas. He also talked about the importance of working with students. More specifically, the merit and value of getting dirty, working in isolation for so many days, being in nature and cooking and enjoying meals together. I really connect with this notion.

Friday I decided to head toward the Washington monument to see the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom. I did a loop around the Tidal Basin, dodging hordes of school groups. Despite the tourist traffic along the way, it was such a pleasant walk. I wanted to hit up the Natural History Museum, but again, it was swamped with school groups, so I turned around and headed back to the conference. I hit up a few more talks, had a drink with my mentor, and went out to Haikan, an amazing ramen place with some friends. The rest of the night was spent celebrating the fact that our classmate/friend Zaakiyah won the Paul Goldberg Award, a national award, awarded to a single MA student in either the geosciences or archaeology!

Zaakiyah with the Paul Goldberg Award!

On Saturday, my main objective was to attend the symposium, “Wicked Awesome” Archaeology: New Data and Directions In The Archaeological Northeast”. A few friends/acquaintances were presenting during this session, including Dick Boisvert and Zachary Singer. Dick Boisvert is my mentor and is on my thesis committee. He talked about the legacy of the State Conservation and Rescue Archaeology Program (SCRAP). Following Dick, Zach discussed “New Investigations of the Paleoindian Component at the Templeton Site in Western Connecticut”. Much like SCRAP, students and volunteers help excavate the Templeton Site, which to me, is always a wonderful collaboration. After their talk I met up with my family, and we walked through the National Zoo. Later, we met up with my boyfriend, and grabbed dinner at a Mexican restaurant where delicious food and margarita’s were consumed.

The Government, University, and Heritage Stewardship crew!

Sunday, the final day of the conference, and the day of my presentation (at 8 am) in the “Government, Universities, and Heritage Stewardship: A Student and Young Professional Symposium”. I was in this symposium with several IUP classmates, some fellow PennDOT interns, and two graduate students from the University of Montana. My paper was titled, “From Field School to Graduate School: How One Public Archaeology Program Has Made It All Possible”. I discussed the benefits/legacy of SCRAP, and how I am using SCRAP data to complete my Master’s thesis. I also provided some preliminary results/conclusions to my thesis research. As my first time presenting at a conference, I have to say, I don’t think I bombed! I felt pretty confident up there, but that took A LOT of practicing over and over again. Everyone that participated in the symposium did great, and each person had a really interesting topic that related to their collaboration with state or federal government agencies. After our symposium, we jumped in the van, and headed back to Indiana.

Personally, the SAA’s were an amazing experience for me. Roughly 20 plus IUP students, past and present, attended the conference. In addition, three professors in the graduate and undergraduate Anthro department presented papers.  It felt really good knowing that IUP had a strong presence, one that shows that we are a tight knit group, and that we are able to successfully transition from our undergraduate or graduate studies into viable careers in archaeology. Most IUP graduates are working in CRM, while some are getting their PhD’s. I hope that we can continue to show the archaeological community that we have a strong program for years to come. See you all next year in Albuquerque!!!

IUP ANTHROPOLOGY DEPARTMENT

Applied Archaeology Grad Students Represent the Anthropology Department At The Graduate Scholars Forum

By: Genevieve Everett

This week is the beginning of a very busy month for us graduate students (and professors), because all of the conferences/forums are happening one week after another. This past Wednesday was the Graduare Scholars Forum at the KCAC, which is part of IUP Research Week. From our department alone, nine of us partipated in the Poster session. Some of us presented on thesis research, including myself, while others presented research they’ve done for other departments (Geography). Zaakiyah presented a poster on the GPR research she did on Presque Isle, which she posted about a few weeks back on this blog.

Each student was assigned an area to hang their posters for judges and the public to view. From 9:30-11 am the judges came around to each of us, asking us to explain our research, and the implications of this research. This was a very nerve racking experience for me, because this was my first ever poster session. Not to mention, it was the first time I was discussing my thesis research with professionals outside of our department. However, the more I talked about it, the more confident I became. It was also really great meeting other graduate students from other departments, and learning about their research. All in all, I would say that this was an extremely positive experience for me. It forced me to get out of my comfort zone, and show off what I’ve been tirelesslt working on.

I am really excited to say that two people from our department won awards for their posters! Mesfer Alqahtani won Deans Choice for best poster in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Matt Bjorkman won two awards for the two posters he presented on behalf of the honors fraternity Lambda Alpha. He got first place for one and honorable mention for the other that he co-authored. Oh also, Hannah Morris, an Anthro undergrad won Deans Choice for best undergraduate poster for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences!

Below are photos of the grad students with their posters/receiving award that participated  on Wednesday (sorry Andrew, there was no photo of you). Good job everyone!!

Genevieve Everett

Samantha Taylor

Kristina Gaugler

Mesfer Alqahtani

Britney Elsbury-Orris

Heather MacIsaac

Zaakiyah Cua

Matt Bjorkman with co-authors

 

Matt Bjorkman accepting one of his awards

 

IUP at MAAC 2018

Zooarchaeology Interest Group

By: Charles Edwards (Sam)

The 2018 Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference was an enjoyable and informative event. The research that was presented included a variety of subjects from both pre-Historic and Historic contexts. There were several workshops in addition to the presentations, covering toolstone sources, X-radiography, 3D modeling, and zooarchaeology. As graduate students, we were able to participate in the activities hosted by the MAAC Student Committee as well. This included a social mixer, a raffle (with no paucity of prizes), and an “archaeology Olympics”. For those of us looking to get back into the technology loop, an exciting experience was the virtual reality reconstruction of a Native American site, demonstrated by a graduate student from George Mason University. Overall, the Conference was well worth the two and a half hours of volunteering at the registration table that got me in for free!

Walking on Thick Ice

Survey grids with War of 1812 Perry Monument in background

By: Zaakiyah Cua

It’s closing in on sunset and a group of three IUP Applied Archaeology M.A. students along with their professor work quickly collecting geophysical data several meters offshore on Misery Bay of Presque Isle State Park. As they work, a deep guttural groan comes from the ice, roaring under them and shooting off across the bay as quickly as it came. The students pause, look around, and continue their work. They have been hearing these noises from the over 12” thick ice surface all weekend, and have grown accustomed to the strange, eerie sounds. Two weekends ago, IUP Applied Archaeology students and professors conducted a geophysical survey of the frozen Misery Bay under the direction of Dr. Ben Ford, Dr. William Chadwick, and myself. The project was funded through a grant from the Regional Science Consortium and received full support from the PA DCNR and the PA Sea Grant. After spending a weekend on the groaning, moaning Misery Bay, I have come to find out that these sounds mentioned above do not necessarily indicate dangerous ice, they are a product of warming and cooling temperatures.

Day 1 GPR

Presque Isle State Park is in Erie, Pennsylvania and consists of a geologic spit complex, essentially a large peninsula sticking out from the mainland. Misery Bay consists of 200+ acres and is situated on the southeastern side of the peninsula. The goals of this project were to test the use of geophysical methods on the ice surface to determine if terrestrial methods could fit into the shallow water niche often difficult to survey with deep water equipment. Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and gradiometry were the two methods chosen for the project. If successful, not only would this methodology guide subsequent diver surveys, but it could be successful in locating submerged cultural resources such as shipwrecks. Misery Bay was the perfect place to conduct this study as it offered an ice surface associated with a rich maritime history tracing back to at least the War of 1812. First a brief history…

Ross Owen collecting gradiometer data

During the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States of America, it was evident that control of the Great Lakes was crucial to victory. The Presque Isle spit formed a natural barrier for the US to build their naval fleet and was utilized for this purpose. A naval base was established on the peninsula, and Misery Bay was utilized to build and repair ships. Following the Battle of Lake Erie, and the US victory, Misery Bay was also used to scuttle, or intentionally sink, some of the warships for preservation, and later use. Since then, two ships have been raised, restored, and used as naval museums. The Erie Maritime Museum, Flagship Niagara, PASST (Pennsylvania Archaeological Shipwreck Survey Team), and other entities have conducted incredible research pertaining to the War of 1812 and the Battle of Lake Erie. Since 1812 and into more recent times, many vessels have been deposited in Misery Bay. With this history in mind, the bay offered an ideal location to test the methods with the possibility of identifying locations of vessels.

PASST divers in their element

In the three days the survey was conducted, major collaborative efforts between IUP researchers, the PA DCNR, PA Sea Grant, and PASST contributed to an incredibly successful project. Anomalies of interest were identified in the geophysical data, one of which was preliminarily investigated by the PASST divers on the last day of survey. The PASST team cut through the ice, dove down to identify if the anomaly was actually something, and positively identified a structure buried in bay floor sediments. What’s really cool about the PASST team, is that the members are certified divers who partake in survey work as a hobby and have true passion for what they do. During the weekend, IUP researchers also interacted with interested members of the public who stopped by to ask what we were doing out on the ice. These ranged from ice fishermen who shared the bay with us each day to weekend travelers. Finally, the IUP team spoke with the media regarding the survey and its implications to future work. It was definitely an experience talking with the media – it you get a chance, check out the Erie News Now coverage of our work.

Day 1 Pre-Project photo with DCNR and Sea Grant staff.

While the bulk of the post-fieldwork analysis is still underway, this project was quite successful. It offered an incredible opportunity to be involved in truly collaborative work with state agencies, funding entities, avocational groups, the public, and the media. Additionally, the project offered myself and other students involved professional development and a unique set of field skills to add to our toolkits. I especially want to acknowledge the two IUP graduate students who aided with the fieldwork; Steven Campbell and Ross Owen, we couldn’t have done it without your help! Overall this was a phenomenal experience. We lucked out with solid ice and good weather, pulled off a super successful project.

 

IUP ANTHROPOLOGY DEPARTMENT

“Me Too”: Taking a Stance Against Work-Place Harassment in Archaeology

By: Genevieve Everett

I’ve been thinking a lot about the “Me Too” movement and how women have been affected by work related harassment and assault within the field of Archaeology. As a woman coming to the end of my graduate studies, I am preparing for a future of working as a “field-based scientist”. I have been thinking about what it means to be a woman in the sciences, and the unpleasant experiences so many women have experienced and endured in the not so distant past. I obviously cannot speak for every individual that identifies as female, but I can say that the subject of work place harassment and assault has only recently been publicly addressed, and quantified in two well-known (within the field of Archaeology) surveys. The results of the surveys were provided by the Southeastern Archaeological Conference (SEAC) in “Preliminary Results of the SEAC Sexual Harassment Survey” (Meyers et al. 2015), and in the article, “Survey of Academic Field Experiences (SAFE): Trainees Report Harassment and Assault” (Clancy et al. 2014). While the SEAC survey is very important, and sheds light on improper work related harassment (when is it ever proper?) specific to archaeology, I am going to briefly discuss the SAFE survey.

It should be noted, not all respondents to the SAFE survey were Archaeologists, however, Archaeologists did account for 159 of the respondents (23%), out of a total of 666 total respondents (Clancy et al. 2014). The SAFE survey was distributed as a link through email and social media calling for field-based scientists, such as CRM professionals. Participants were asked to respond to a series of questions pertaining to age, gender, etc. And most importantly, questions related to sexual harassment and assault, whether personal or observed.

In terms of demographics, the results indicate that 77.5% of the respondents were women (Clancy et al. 2014). Likewise, various respondents provided varying sexual orientations and ethnicities, however, majority of respondents were heterosexual and white. Professionally, respondents included, students (grad/undergrad), professors (of all levels), researchers, and all others outside of the field of academia. Long story short, the survey indicated that women at the “Trainee” level of the employment ladder provided that they have experienced either harassment, assault, or both at higher rates than any other professional. For example, 84% of women at the trainee level indicated that they have experienced some sort of work related harassment, while women in “higher” positions experienced lower rates of harassment (Clancy et. al 2014). In the survey, most women indicated that the perpetrators were higher on the “professional hierarchy”, people in “power”.

If we look at trends of the “Me Too” movement, women around the country are coming out with allegations against men of “power”, individuals that control the purse strings. It might not seem like it, but what’s happening in Hollywood and politics is also happening in Archaeology (made clear in the SAFE survey), and it has been happening for a very long time. I’ve heard people say, “Why are women all of a suddenly speaking out?” They’re not “suddenly” speaking out, many women have come forward, but we haven’t heard about it, because the individuals that are, are either not famous enough or they have been ordered under legal agreements to keep silent about the case. I think it’s great that the systemic problem of work place harassment and assault are being addressed in our field, but more needs to be done. I’d be very curious to see the results of a similar survey now, in 2018, when women are banding together to support one another and speak out. I’d like to see responses to how men and women would like to see and contribute to a safe working environment. How can this be achieved? I completely agree with Clancy and her colleagues that the only way to improve the unwanted and uncomfortable situations in the field is, “raising awareness of the presence of hostile work behaviors, discrimination, harassment, and assault (particularly women); creating guidelines for respectful behavior; and adopting independent reporting and enforcement mechanisms” (Clancy et al. 2014). The only way forward is to re-educate professionals, for BOTH men and women at all levels of the profession to take a hard stance against work place assault and harassment, and support those that still fall victim to these experiences.

IUP DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY

Growing Up In Cemeteries, Pt 2.

By: Zane Ermine

Hello everyone! This is Zane Ermine again with another blog post! This week I’m going to be talking about headstone symbolism throughout the last 300 or so years in North America. (I should note that this is an extremely brief generalization based off of my previous knowledge and some basic research).

Headstones and cemetery engravings have changed drastically throughout the years. From the onset of using stone markers to designate burials, there were often intricate designs incorporated with the name, birth and death dates of the individual onto the face of the stone. These were usually carved with a hammer and chisel and due to the time and effort that were necessary to process an individual monument, set designs were chosen and offered to the families. These designs had themes that were common throughout the industry.

Here are just a handful of the more common symbols:

Dogwood – often a symbol of Christianity, it can also represent eternal life and resurrection.

Dove Often representative of the Holy Spirit, also symbolizes peace in death or the ascension to Heaven.

Dove

Draped Urn – the urn is an ancient symbol of death – often draped with a cloth to represent a separation between life and death

Draped Urn

Wheat – the Grim Reaper is generally depicted as carrying a scythe – can represent a life well lived, harvested at its time.

Lamb – common on children’s stones, it can represent innocence – a lamb in Jesus’ flock

Lamb

 

Example of Greek temple style monument

Eventually, tombstones grew into a status symbol – you can often tell which family had the most money by their large and intricately carved family stone. These headstones were often influenced by the popular architecture of the time; you can find Egyptian or Greek style stones during their respective revivals between the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Around the 1930s, some companies began slowly adopting sandblast technology to engrave their headstones. Rubber was (and still is) used as a stencil to prevent the sand from eroding sections of the stone that are meant to remain untouched. The technology has remained relatively stable since this period, despite varying methods for attaching the rubber and the introduction of computer software. Currently, adhesive-backed rolls of rubber are cut from a stencil cutting machine and placed on the blank monument die. The machine cuts the stencil directly from a CAD program and a to scale computer draft of the stone.

A modern headstone, showing detailed sandblast work. The 3 symbols across the bottom represent the deceased’s various hobbies.

These days, symbolism seems to have taken a back seat to artistic creativity. Modern technology has drastically increased the range of designs that can be placed onto a monument – instead of hand-carving designs, computers and automated sandblast machines do much of the work. Some of the older staples, such as dogwood, doves, roses, or clasping hands have stuck around, although this is more likely due to tradition or aesthetic values, rather than symbolism. Customers can now choose from wider range of designs including sports emblems, cartoon characters, or a variety of animals or vehicles. The art of tombstone design has shifted from inert symbolism to a more blatant pictorial representation of an individual’s life.

Material Referenced:

https://www.in.gov/dnr/historic/3747.htm

http://washtenawhistory.org/images/tombstone_symbols_v8.pdf

http://www.graveaddiction.com/symbol.html

http://www.thecemeteryclub.com/symbols.html

http://www.creepybasement.com/cemetery-symbols/

Images Referenced:

http://washtenawhistory.org/images/tombstone_symbols_v8.pdf

http://www.davismonumentspa.com/specialty-monuments

 

IUP DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY

Growing Up In Cemeteries Pt. 1

By: Zane Ermine

Hello everyone! My name is Zane Ermine and I’m a second year graduate student of the Applied Archaeology program. Gen had originally asked me to write a post about what I had done this summer. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get away from work for a long enough period, so I didn’t really have time for anything archaeology related. So, I’ve decided to share a hobby of mine – something related to historic preservation in which my dad and I have been volunteering our time for the last 5 or so years.

My dad and I take pictures of tombstones. It sounds weird when you put it bluntly like that, but there’s a legitimate reason for it – genealogy. The pictures are taken for a group called BillionGraves; their purpose is to allow individuals to easily find their loved one’s headstones and graves through the internet. It has the secondary (but in my opinion, significantly more important) function of recording cemetery data for the longevity and digitalization of cemetery records.

BillionGraves has a model similar to Find-A-Grave, the popular cemetery search engine that’s been around for years. Where they differ is that BillionGraves is trying to document entire cemeteries with GPS coordinates, as well as a photo for each individual burial. After the photos are uploaded, other volunteers transcribe the information carved onto the stone so that it becomes searchable.

It can be hard to understand the importance of this kind of documentation until you are in a cemetery where most of the headstones are unreadable from the wear of time. Headstones have been particularly affected in SW PA due to industrialization and acid rain. Losing a headstone is akin to losing an entire person – but somehow it happens all the time. Cemeteries overgrow, stones weather, and people forget. It’s a sad truth, but with photographs and written records, some of the loss can be mitigated.

Since I’ve started photographing for the site, I’ve taken 59,954 pictures in 401 cemeteries across 9 states. I don’t know how many entire cemeteries we’ve taken, but it’s definitely over 100 at this point.

My family has been in the monument industry for over 100 years – I grew up in cemeteries, and through the family business, I spend a lot of time in cemeteries. It’s amazing to see all the different levels of craftsmanship, the different stone materials, and how the styles have evolved over the years – and through a process like this, I can experience every stone in a cemetery individually. It’s something I thoroughly enjoy while also taking comfort in knowing that the information can be genuinely useful in the long run.

I’m going to leave you with some of the most famous headstones I’ve personally taken for the site. If anyone has any questions, I can be reached at ddkw@iup.edu.

Andy Warhol – St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery, Bethel Park, PA

Herbert Morrison – Scottdale Cemetery, Scottdale, PA The radio announcer for the Hindenburg Disaster (Oh, the humanity!)

 

Mister Fred Rogers –- Unity Cemetery, Latrobe, PA buried in his mother’s family’s mausoleum

Edward “Blackbeard” Teach – Ocracoke Island, NC Has no headstone, decapitated and buried at sea, marker is the closest thing to a headstone

Francis Scott Key – Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Frederick, MD Wrote the Star-Spangled Banner

 

Zane’s father (far left), Zane (next to his father), and two of their workers rotated this statue, because it was facing away from the cemetery.

 

IUP DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY

My summer as a PHAST intern

By: Genevieve Everett

PHAST 2017 Crew (from left to right: Sami, Zaakiyah, Gen)

This is going to sound real cliché, but time flies when you’re having fun! That’s exactly how I feel about this past summer as a PennDOT Highway Archaeological Survey Team (PHAST) intern. Last day of Spring 2017 classes was Friday May 12th, so my parents came to visit me in Pittsburgh that weekend as a celebration for finishing my first year of graduate school. The following Monday, May 15th was our first day of work. Yes, not much of a break, but that’s being in grad school! Our first week was basically orientation where Joe Baker, the PHAST Supervisor told us that if we weren’t feeling lost during our first few weeks of work there was something wrong with us. Well, speaking for myself, I was definitely feeling a bit lost and rusty in the digging shovel test pit department since it had been quite some time, but after a couple of weeks of doing it day after day I was becoming more confident in my work.

A friendly little sheep at one of our projects

We were immersed in CRM life: living out of a suitcase, staying in hotels, and eating out for every meal. Our projects took us to different counties all over the Common Wealth, which was probably one of my favorite aspects about this job. We saw parts of Pennsylvania that I would have otherwise skipped over on the way to other places. Pennsylvania is BEAUTIFUL! Most of the work we were doing was Phase I (bridge replacements/rehabilitation), however, we did do some Phase II work, several GPR surveys, metal detecting, cleaning/cataloging artifacts, mapping in ArcGIS, and writing reports.

Old wooden boxcar at the Muddy Creek Forks project

One of my favorite projects this summer was a Phase I/II at historic Muddy Creek Forks Village in York County. We excavated around the railroad Section House built by the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad in the early 20th century for the Section Gang. The Section Gang maintained 10 miles of track year round, storing their track car and tools in the Section House. The Ma & Pa Railroad was an important part of industrial life in early-mid 20th century, making it easier for individuals to travel between York and Baltimore and to ship/receive goods. The Section House is an important resource for understanding what early-mid 20th century life may have been like for railroad workers. Eventually, the Section House will be raised onto a new foundation, and rehabilitated for future generations to enjoy along the walking path at the Ma & Pa Railroad Historic Village. Seriously, if you’re ever in the area, visit this site.

All in all, it has been an incredible and educational summer. As much as I love being out in the field I am definitely ready to start back up with classes and work on my thesis!

Visit the IUP Anthropology Department

 

Taking 3D Modeling to New Heights (by Jared Divido)

For the past year and a half, I have been working on an ongoing thesis project that seeks to test the feasibility of 3D laser scanning in a zooarchaeological context.  I have been using the NextEngine HD Scanner and the MakerBot 3D Digitizer to scan bones from various species of waterfowl (Figure 1). You can read more about my project here:

Left: humerus of a Black Duck (Anas rubripes). Right: using the 3D scanner and imaging software.

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Benjamin Ford to test 3D technologies on a much larger scale.  In the process, I’ve acquired new knowledge about 3D techniques, and their response to different environments.  The goal of this mini project was to create miniature 3D replicas of two buildings on the Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s campus, which included McElhaney Hall and Sutton Hall.  After my first brain storming session, I thought that photogrammetry would be the best technique to construct the 3D models.  Photogrammetry is a 3D modeling method in which you take multiple overlapping images around an object of interest.  The researcher then imports the photographs into photogrammetry software, and the software uses references points from the photos to build a “mesh cloud” of the object.

After multiple attempts of using this technique, I quickly discovered that it would not work with all of the beautiful foliage that encompasses the buildings. The shifting background lighting in the sky and the height of the building features also created additional issues when it came to stitching all of the images together.  The resulting photogrammetry model of McElhaney (below) turned out slightly wavy and distorted in sections where tree limbs were obstructing features of the building.  The use of drone technology may have alleviated some of these problems since a drone’s camera can capture detail that cannot be photographed from the ground.  However, potential safety issues prohibit the use of drone technology near academic buildings.  So… I had to get creative and use of a mixture of the photographs and pre-existing satellite imagery from Google Maps (2017) to construct the building models.  I was able to pull the map data into a 3D modeling program called SketchUp, and I used the satellite maps to obtain reference points for the scale and size of the buildings.  From there, I imported the photographs and manually overlay the architectural features (e.g., stairs, windows, and porches) of the buildings using the build tools in SketchUp.  A comparison between the photogrammetry model and manually created SketchUP model are linked below.  The rationale for manually adding in architectural features was to emphasize them for 3D printing

Photogrammetry (left) and SketchUP Build (right) rending of McElhaney Hall.

In the end, the 3D models of the buildings may not have turned out to be exact replicas of their original forms due to some of the issues mentioned above.  However, this project has taught me a lot about the potential advantages and disadvantages of using 3D techniques at larger scales and changing environments.  The resulting models are optimized for 3D printing, which means some of the textural features had to be simplified or eliminated to make the models more structurally sound and printer friendly.  At present, I am using the MakerBot 3D Replicator to “build” miniature tabletop replicas of the buildings.

 

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